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Prospects for Development of Chinese Tertiary Education

in 2020
(By Dr. Ma Luting, NCEDR)

China has clarified its goal of developing an all-round well-off society in 2020.
The well-off society, benefiting over billions of population, will reduce
differentiations, promote equality and emphasize coordination in economic growth,
social progress, cultural advancement and natural development. The requirement of
establishing an innovative nation and harmonious society has also been put forward
by the Chinese government. It is evident that China has accelerated the rate of
urbanization growth with an annual increase of 1%.

In 2020, China’s GDP will be doubled compared with that in 2000, amounting to
RMB 35,000 billion, with per capita GDP reaching $3,000, and with the expected
holistic economic growth rate achieving medium income nation level. The population
will reach 1.47 billion, with 86.79 million school age population receiving tertiary
education. In addition, the urbanization rate will amount to 60%. Accordingly, the
above mentioned will contribute to the increase in the supply and demand of tertiary

Therefore, my outlook for the development of tertiary education in 2020 is as


The scale of tertiary education will be further expanded. The tertiary

education population will be expanded from 230 million at present to 400 million, a
changing of gross attendance rate from 22% to 40%. In that case, the average year
for labor force population receiving education above age 15 will increase from 8.3
years to 11 years, basically satisfying the requirement of social and economic

The quality of tertiary education will be improved based on stability. The

quality of tertiary education will be enhanced through Quality Project, 985 Project,

211 Project and development of model tertiary vocational institutions. A few
universities and disciplines will be ranked as world-class.

The tertiary education investment will be improved noticeably. The public

financial system will be strengthened, investment towards education accounting for
4% to 5% of GDP, with over 1% of GDP in tertiary education. A multi-channel
funding system will be formulated.

The tertiary education will meet the requirement of lifelong learning.

Diversified forms of post secondary education will be improved, establishing a grades
conversion and accreditation system for recognition of various kinds of learning
experiences, and bridging a crossover among regular higher education, vocational
education and training courses.

China will further facilitate its internationalization level in tertiary

education. Being more open and autonomous, higher education institutions will
conduct more exchanges with the world community in international education and
scientific research, and hence relying more on the exchanges among the world

Note: This publication has been made available by CSEND with the agrement of the author.

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Diplomacy Dialogue is a branch of the Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development

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